Sassy Southern Cooking with a French Twist

Recipes

Recipes posted by Holly. Maybe from her books or other sources.

Rutabaga Reigns Supreme at Holiday Table

Buttery Parsley Rutabaga Mash 

It may be considered a humble root vegetable, but the knobby rutabaga is transformed into nutty, buttery elegance in this sunset-yellow mash, lightened by a bit of Yukon Gold potato and made silky with butter, sour cream, and colorful flavor flecks of fresh parsley. The potatoes add fluff while the rutabaga adds girth and the kind of flavor that stands up perfectly to beef rib roast, pork, turkey or duck at the holiday table. It’s so delicious, I eat it straight out of the bowl. It could easily play a starring role at a vegetarian holiday table, as well. It is super easy to prepare and can be made a day or two ahead and reheated just before serving.

Buttery Parsley Rutabaga Mash from Mashed Beyond the Potato (Gibbs Smith, 2016) by Holly Herrick. Reprinted with permission from Gibbs Smith Publisher.

Ingredients and Method

(Yields 4 to 6 servings)

1 medium rutabaga

1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt

Water to cover

2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)

TO FINISH

1 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Using a sharp paring knife or small chef’s knife, remove the outer skin as well as the tough 1/4-inch thick inner skin of the rutabaga. Cut into 2-inch cubes and place in a medium pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook until the rutabaga starts to soften, about 15 minutes. Add the potatoes and continue to summer another 20 minutes, until both the potatoes and rutabaga are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.

Strain in a colander and return to the pan with the sour cream, butter, salt, and pepper. Mash with a manual masher or immersion blender until chunky smooth. (If preparing ahead, stop at this point and refrigerate 1 – 2 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator). Just before serving, heat through over medium heat, stir in parsley, and adjust seasonings or add a few tablespoons vegetable stock, chicken stock or water, as needed. Serve warm.

Wishing everyone a beautiful holiday season, whatever holiday you celebrate. May it be joyful, blessed, full of cheer, and especially delicious. Remember you can always check in here with any questions about my recipes, cooking classes, and of course, beautiful Charleston.

Bon appetit!

Holly

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Shrimp, Collards & Grits

I recently came across this beautiful, just-released cookbook by Pat Branning. Actually, Pat a friend and neighbor down in Beaufort was kind enough to send me a signed copy for review.

Shrimp, Collards & Grits by Pat Branning. Cover Art by Ray Ellis.

Shrimp, Collards & Grits by Pat Branning. Cover Art by Ray Ellis.

 

To read about it, please click on this link. Enjoy. It’s a beauty and chock full of luscious art, recipes and writing.

http://charleston.thepermanenttourist.com/for-the-love-of-the-lowcountry/

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Simply Saturday

In today’s column on my new blog, The Permanent Tourist – Charleston, I offer a recipe from Simply Saturday’s column on seasonal, fresh cooking. In this case, a delicious turnip soup and a cookbook giveaway of Southern Farmers Market Cookbook. Come follow me there if you like!

http://charleston.thepermanenttourist.com/simply-saturday/

Southern Farmers Market Cookbook. Photos by Rick McKee.

Southern Farmers Market Cookbook. Photos by Rick McKee.

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Mac ‘n Cheese Dreams

The chilly nights and brisk days of fall bring with them the siren call for some serious comfort food. Truly, what makes better comfort food than a really excellent mac ‘ n cheese? I love to marry disparate cheeses in a creamy bechamel, melt them down, stir them into some pasta, and bake. The key is to use cheeses that pair well – one or two nutty, another one or two perhaps slightly sweet, or even a nice, mild blue cheese. You want to stick with cheeses with a nice melt factor and the best quality you can afford.

This recipe is a delicious way to use over left-over cheese and it truly warms the heart and soul. It comes together quickly. Grate/chop the cheese while the pasta cooks, prepare the bechamel base, whisk in the cheese, toss and bake. Twenty-five minutes later you have a steaming casserole custom made for cheese lovers. Or, prep ahead, refrigerate overnight and bake it off the next evening. With a side of steamed or roasted asparagus, it makes a dreamy, seasonal spring meal.

Creamy with a sharp edge from blended cheeses, this mac ‘n cheese gets a buttery, golden bread crumb crust.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mac ‘n Cheese Dreams

(Serves 12)

1 pound shell pasta, #50 size (I like De Cecco’s conchiglie rigate)

Cold water to cover

3 tablespoons kosher salt or sea salt

1/2 cup coarsely chopped Morbier

1/2 cup coarsely chopped Brie, rind removed

2 cups grated Gruyere

2 cups grated Muenster

For the cheese sauce base/bechamel:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons All Purpose flour

4 cups (1 quart) skim milk

Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (Note: season according to the saltiness of the cheese. Better to add more later if needed once the cheese has been added).

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

For the bread crumbs:

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup plain bread crumbs

kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Generously butter a large baking dish (I used a 4.5 liter Corningware baking dish). Bring a large pot of cold water combined with 3 tablespoons salt up to a rolling boil. Add pasta and stir to blend. Reduce heat to medium high and continue cooking until the pasta is al dente, 10  – 11 minutes. Drain well in a colander. Set aside.

Meanwhile, prep the cheeses and set aside. For the bechamel, melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for about 2 minutes. Pour in the milk all at once and bring up to a boil over high heat, whisking constantly. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper and add the thyme. Once at a boil, reduce to medium heat and whisk in the cheeses, in batches, until thoroughly combined and melted. Add the cooked, drained pasta to the cheese mixture and stir well to coat. Pour the mixture into the buttered baking pan. Set aside briefly.

In a separate saute pan, melt the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. When melted, add the bread crumbs and stir to coat. Cook for about 1 minute or until the bread crumbs are just golden. Crumble the bread crumbs evenly over the top of the mac ‘n cheese. Bake in the center of the oven until golden and bubbling, about 25 – 30 minutes. Allow 5 minutes to rest before serving. Sprinkle with some fresh chopped parsley if desired.

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Vacation Station: Club Med Bread

Vacations mean different things to different people. Some long for hard partying, quiet  companionship, travel, museums, tours, learning, drinking, eating, and generally doing something new and different. For me, it’s a little bit of some of those things, but first and foremost, having not taken a real, dedicated vacation in over five years, what I needed most on my recent, delicious break, was rest and relaxation. 

On the advice of a Swedish friend, who has visited many Club Med resorts, I semi-reluctantly embarked on a trek down to a Club Med in Turks & Caicos called “Turquoise”. My mind didn’t like the notion of “club” anything. Instead, it embraced the notion of tranquility, but I didn’t want to feel like I was on a desert island, either. And, the promise of sea breezes, turquoise-toned water, lots of tennis, reading and eating good healthy food seemed too hard to resist. I even nursed a fantasty vision of a sexy, French stud sporting white capris strolling down a sandy white beach  heading towards me while wearing a dangerous, sultry smile.

What “Turquoise” ended up delivering was all of what I was seeking (well, minus the French man in capris, but there were French Canadians speaking the beautiful French language at every turn) and more.  Spright mornings of tennis morphed into lazy afternoons of reading by the pool or the exquisite beach, and in-between all of these stretches of lazy time, there was time to savor the beautiful food.

The food (and the beautiful bread) is what surprised me most of all. This resort houses (at capacity) 500 guests, not counting the extensive staff. Chef de Cuisine Herve Lotz, a native of Strasbourg, France, is responsible for feeding all of them and keeping them very, very happy. No small task, some might call it Herculean even, when you consider what I learned to be the very high standards of Club Med regulars. 

Every morning, he gathered his crew for a “tete a tete” for that day’s multiple meal production planning session. He was there most nights until long after the last meal had been eaten. Day in, day out, this man and his team create a spectacularly diverse menu of high quality food, which is even more amazing when you consider the relative remoteness of the island and the inherent difficulties that presents in even getting produce & products to the kitchen.

Breakfast included a hot buffet of waffles, pancakes, grits, eggs, sausage, made-to-order omelets, assorted yogurts, an entire table of fresh sliced fruit, meats, cheeses, and more. Lunch was especially impressive with beautifully plated dishes, salads, stews, soups, gorgeous fresh fish (especially the grouper), burgers, roasted meats, and a beautiful array of sweet treats, pastries and custards. Dinner was more of the same, except on an even greater scale. But, all three meals showcased what ultimately steals the food show at Club Med – the outrageously beautiful bread. 

Baguettes, soft country breads, croissants, coconut bread, dark chocolate bread and the ultimate star, the one that had everyone (including me!) raving – the white chocolate bread. Soft, flaky and pliable all at once, it’s studded all over with nuggets of mellow white chocolate. The taste effect falls somewhere between bread and dessert. One bite is all it takes to fall in love with the stuff. 

All bread-making at Turquoise is overseen by Boulanger Raphael-Guarionez Baldonado. Bravo to him and his entire staff! They make bread – any bread – so delicious it doesn’t even require butter. I was unable to get the recipe for the white chocolate bread from Chef Baldonado, but I called the corporate offices in Miami after I returned home. They provided the link to the You Tube video listed below which tells you exactly how to make it at home.

watch

I would have had all of this to you sooner, but it took me a few days to get back my real-life stress legs, I was so high on relaxation after getting home. That’s what I call a vacation.

Happy baking!

Club Med Turquoise

British West Indies

Turks & Caicos

1-644-946-55-00

 

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Cracking the Cookbook Code Retreat

Join me and blogger, chef and author Beckie Carrico Hemmerling March 29 – April 1, 2019 for Cracking the Cookbook Code, Writing, Cooking, Marketing, Photography + Wellness Retreat. Limited to only 8 people, we will have a blissful few days in a beautiful, relaxing setting with like-minded souls, eating delicious food and having a wonderful time. Click for details.

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